A couple of weeks ago, it was my birthday. I started planning the day a month in advance, and I was really looking forward to it. I was planning to take the entire day off work and only do relaxing and enjoyable things.
The Birthday Plan
In the morning, I’d get a massage. I looove a good massage.
Then, my husband and I would have a relaxed, romantic lunch together.
Afterwards, I’d go to a café, drink some tea, eat some cake, and read my book. By myself!!! Two hours for me with my book. Pure indulgence!
Then, I’d pick up my son from daycare and have our favorite dinner at home. (Jacob would be working late that evening, but we were going to continue the celebrations on the weekend.)
The Birthday Reality
The day started out very nicely. We had a pleasant breakfast as a family, and then I dropped off William at daycare. I came home, and I usually start my morning by doing some administrative tasks before I actually start working.
But today I had to directly go to my massage appointment, and I felt so weird not having done my admin! It took me a little bit of time to accept that today was a different type of day and I wasn’t going to be doing any admin.
Fortunately, the massage was heavenly, so I could relax and enjoy it fully. It was rather gentle because it was a pregnancy massage, and that fit perfectly with what I needed.
Then, Jacob and I had lunch. It was lovely to have some time together, but by then I was feeling really strange. The whole morning had passed by, and I hadn’t done any work! How was that okay?! Maybe I should stay home in the afternoon instead of going to the café…
I shared this idea with Jacob, and he exclaimed, “No way! You’ve been looking forward to this café visit for so long, you shouldn’t just cancel it!”
He was right. I had been looking forward to this for a while. But did I really have to go? Wouldn’t it be smarter to do some work?
In that moment, I was experiencing the difficulty of sticking with a plan when you have no accountability. I was not meeting with a friend at the café, there was no one waiting for me to go there, and there were no external negative consequences to not going. It would have been really easy to skip this appointment I’d made with myself.
Fortunately, my Upholder nature kicked in. I’d made this promise to myself, for good reason at the time, so I was going to fulfill the it even though it felt uncomfortable in the moment.
So I went to the café…
Those two hours with my book at the café were pure bliss! It was the first warm day of the season, and I was able to sit outside. The sun was very pleasant, and no one else was sitting outside (people were missing out for sure!).
I’d brought a book I liked, and being able to read without distractions made my heart feel light. Well, the only distractions were the tea and the cake, but those were very welcome.
I felt… free, sitting there with my book. I had no one else’s needs to attend to, and I could do exactly as I wished. Sipping my tea. Reading my book. Tasting my cake. Feeling the sunlight.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my people, and I’m grateful I get to take care of them. But I believe I’d underestimated the importance of taking time for myself.
And I don’t mean time to do something useful such as make myself a nutritious meal, exercise, or shower. Those are all important, but my issue was that I was doing all the useful things and not enough of the completely non-essential stuff. Such as reading a book at a café.
Afterwards, I picked up William from daycare, and I was so glad to see him! We went home and had sushi for dinner. The kid loves sushi just like his mom! It’s hilarious to see him eating his little sushi pieces, feeling so happy.
I found two important takeaways from this story:
A day of only doing fun/pleasant things may be too much for me. I believe I do best when I’ve had a couple of hours of doing something productive, and then do something relaxing, maybe even chill for the rest of the day.
I should schedule more me-time. And I mean those self-indulgent activities that are absolutely not useful, but are simply enjoyable. They should probably come in small chunks, such as two hours at a café with my book from time to time, instead of lasting for the whole day. I was honestly surprised by how this little activity made my heart sing.
2 thoughts on “Can I do nothing on my birthday?”
Reminds me of a show I used to watch. Birthdays and Mother’s/Fathers days would come around and one parent would get a great day and everyone would say “it’s your day!” Then the other would have to do everything themselves and they’d all say, “it’s your day!”
Hopefully it makes sense… 😂
Haha, that’s funny! 😀